Friday, December 24, 2010

Football recruit Pierson visits KU, still undecided


Last weekend, eight members of the high school Class of 2011 made their official visits to Kansas University to tour the football facilities and meet with the coaching staff.

All but one of them had already committed to Kansas, making the visit as much about getting to know future teammates as it was about getting to know KU.

The one player on the visit who was — and still is — undecided on where he will go to school was four-star athlete Anthony Pierson, a running back from East St. Louis High in Illinois.

Pierson is one of the top remaining players who has not yet committed to a school, and the Jayhawks appear to be in as good a standing as anyone for his services. For starters, recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell is the lead recruiter on this one. And everywhere he’s been, Mitchell has had a reputation for bringing in big-time talent.

Another thing working in KU’s favor is the fact that the Jayhawks can offer Pierson something that not everyone else recruiting him can.

“I want to go where I can get early playing time and get a good education,” Pierson told Otis Kirk, of site “I just want to play football, get an education and win games. Those are the things that are important to me.”

KU coach Turner Gill has said all along that one of his biggest selling points on the recruiting trail this offseason would be playing time. The fact that his team finished 3-9 in 2010 while playing a host of freshmen helps Gill’s credibility when offering such opportunities.

Asked at his season-ending news conference what such a pitch might sound like, Gill obliged.

“You’re gonna have an opportunity to play,” he said. “Not to say that somebody may come in here and start, but they’re all gonna have an opportunity to play and the best person’s gonna be out there.”

Pierson, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, could quickly become one of KU’s best players. During a recent breakdown of all the prospects in the country,’s Mike Farrell ranked Pierson as the fourth fastest player available. His 40-yard dash time is listed as 4.45 seconds. Said Farrell: “Pierson is a flat-out blazer who is a threat to score from anywhere.”

Pierson has been recruited as a running back, slot receiver and a safety. He has received offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Arkansas. He had been committed to Mizzou but decommitted in November and appears to be wide open. Mitchell had an in-home visit with Pierson last week.

Joining Pierson on his recent visit to KU were offensive linemen Dylan Admire, Phil Ford and Travis Bodenstein, running back Dreamius Smith, linebacker Jason Hensley, and Texas teammates Ben Goodman and Collin Garrett from West Brook High, in Beaumont, Texas.


Larry Smith 9 years, 2 months ago

A 4.4 guy that can play both sides of the ball. I like it!

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 2 months ago

I can't see him coming in as a running back for us with us being deep in that position. He would so go to defense which is cool. With his size he can be a corner for us and we still need help in that area. Our safeties are rock solid and he wouldn't get much PT there. If he is a true talent we will find a way to get him on the field I hope.

I am excited about our recruiting class. We may have had a down year, but Gill is going after the right guys for his system and he isn't quitting on the recruiting trail.

rastameta 9 years, 2 months ago

He will only come to KU with the chance to play RB. He has to given a shot at RB first. He may be switched later, but he will get his chance.

100 9 years, 2 months ago

Bring 'em on in Coach Gill & Coach Mitchell!!!!!!!!!!!!!




(And thanks Matt Tait for the daily reporting of KU football recruiting, it makes a huge difference)...

hawkalumN2011 9 years, 2 months ago

I concur with 100.....THANK YOU, MATT.....loving the coverage!!

Edward Daub 9 years, 2 months ago

Is this our first 4 star possibility? What is the maximum , 5 stars? Lets face the facts, this star system is over rated, but it serves as a guide. My guess is that this special recruit will tell the coaching staff where he wants to play. If that is running back, the position is getting crowded!

jayhawkintx73 9 years, 2 months ago

No. The running back from Blue Springs who has now committed according to rivals is a 4 star running back.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 1 month ago

The new quarterback commit is considered a 4 star by some of the analysts.

jakzhumans 9 years, 2 months ago

Miller is a 4-star according to Rivals, and ESPN has Berglund as a 4-star. And yes, 5 is as high as it goes.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 1 month ago

And 5 stars are rare. A 5 star is usually pro ready out of high school.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 2 months ago

Meh! Who needs d-linemen anyway. Oh oh oh and another running back, Yipee!

On a positive note. Merry Christmas everyone.

Gary Wirsig 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't know that anyone has every asked you - if so, I apologize - but what could Coach Gill do (short of leaving KU) that would make you happy?

Kevin Studer 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm not quite as doomsday as Ahperse, but he has a solid point. We are in dire need of D-linemen, and keep piling the scholarships on small skill position players.This will be a problem on the field.

jhox 9 years, 2 months ago

Gill clearly recognizes our lack of speed relative to other Big 12 teams, and the best way to address that need is by recruiting running backs, who are almost always the best athletes on their high school teams. Don't expect all of these guys to remain on offense. Many of them probably played both ways in high school, and expect some of them to end up as defensive backs.

I'm sure they'd love to recruit defensive linemen, but I'd rather see them not waste scholarships on players who are not talented enough to be effective in the Big 12, just because they're labeled as a defensive lineman. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the offensive line recruits move over to defense.

This program has a lot of needs, but the primary need is for better athletes. It's no surprise that's the kind of players they're going after.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 2 months ago

Some of the OL recruits will almost surely land on the defensive side of the ball. DL is a pretty tough position to recruit quality, so we're not alone in this need.

johnnyphoton 9 years, 2 months ago

You nailed it, ahpesocisocoaheocishelsoicsilsnskffoilwdsricbslisinblyrywnxivosmcjvjvjs,mc=smv847sjc-%E()*Mmm, Coach Gill should recruit offensive line and defensive line. Gill also needs to recruit some linebackers and D-Backs. I would advise Gill. and I strongly advise this, that he recruit some safeties with speed. Now for the other side of the ball, I can't emphasize how much Coach G. needs to recruit wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends, in addition to the aforementioned offensive linemen. ahpesocisocoaheocishelsoicsilsnskffoilwdsricbslisinblyrywnxivosmcjvjvjs,mc=smv847sjc-%E()*Mmm, as always, I think your takes are right on!

troutsee 9 years, 2 months ago

In other words, he should recruit a whole team. Brilliant.

Ben Kliewer 9 years, 2 months ago

That's why we're getting so many running we can switch them all the DEs...

DevilHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Recruit speed and move players to where they can be most successful.

That said, we are in very good shape to get DT Terry Redden.

By the way, check the roster - we are a fairly young team on the d-line.

Here's what is listed on ESPN as KU's 2010 roster: 7x DT: 2x Juniors; 2x Sophomores; 3x Freshmen 9x DE (not including Opurum): 2x Seniors; 1x Sophomore; 6x Freshmen 13x LB: 3x Seniors; 2x Juniors; 3x Sophomores; 5x Freshman

Our pass defense was much worse than our run defense this year. I suspect that the d-line will be more of a focus in Gill's 2012 recruiting class, because our pass defense (at least at safety and corner anyways) looks and sounds like it should be much better next year.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 2 months ago

I would argue our pass defense was bad because our DL sucked in every suckable way imaginable. I sure hope the DL is better next year. QBs were packing sack lunches in the pocket this year, that will make any DB look bad. Even the great Deion couldn't cover a Big XII wideout for 8 seconds.

DevilHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Sometimes you need to take what you can get.

A lot of changes were made in the latter half of the season and moving Opurum to DE seems to be having a very positive impact on our defense.

I agree that it is a very important leaky hole that needs to get fixed - and successfully recruited. However, I also think that we should see some major improvement from 2010 to 2011 at d-line.

I just think that the coaches decided to focus their efforts on learning and stopping the run rather than on pass-rushing. (It would be nice if the coaches gave us something to chew on in the off-season rather than simply "we didn't execute.")

As a final note: the pass defense has been bad for the past three years (08,09,10), so I do wonder a bit about how much of it is simply the issue of dealing with a steep learning curve.

rastameta 9 years, 2 months ago

All of these RB can play multiple positions on both side of the ball. They all will not stay at RB. Some will be moved. This is exactly how schools like TCU have recruited. As for DL, we are not as hurting as everyone thinks. Kevin Young and Keba were moved to DT Julius Green is coming in Jan. as a legit DE. You really need to get your facts straight and understand the college game of football better because your comments are mostly off base.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 2 months ago

3-9 a recruiting class rated in the low 40's with very little up front talent and so thin on the d-line we have to move one of our best returning rb's to fill a spot.

DevilHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

I'd like to see better, but... KU fans, we need to accept the fact that the current recruiting class is the best that KU has had this decade and probably one of the best recruiting classes that KU has ever had - especially in the modern era.

Ben Kliewer 9 years, 1 month ago

Took the words right out of my...qwerty keyboard? We don't need to accept the fact that it's the best we've had, we need to celebrate that. It remains to be seen...yes, remains to be seen whether or not Gill can coach these guys he's bringing in... But if he can, then we can expect better recruiting classes in the future. Hell, maybe we can even crack the top 30! (A feat Mangino never accomplished...)

Dan Harris 9 years, 1 month ago

Did Santa leave you another lump of coal Mr negative?

DevilHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Calling this an "excellent" recruiting class is an overstatement. It may be "excellent" in comparison to previous KU recruiting classes, because it is currently the best ranked class that KU has had this decade - and potentially among its best ever - but that doesn't mean that it is "excellent."

"Excellent" will be when we have one of the Top 25 recruiting classes in the country. Rivals has Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State currently ranked as Top 25 recruiting classes. A&M is #37; Baylor is #39; Mizzou is #46; and KU is #42. Based on this class alone, that would put us at a 3-6 conference record +/- 3 games.

However, it is a solid class which should help us compete - especially if this staff shows that it can actually coach up players and coach on the field.

okiedave 9 years, 2 months ago

Pierson, if a good education is a priority, avoid the Hogs of Arkansas, their text books are mainly pictorials with some scratch & sniff stuff tossed in for additional explanation, as needed.

danmoore 9 years, 2 months ago

If you want to know how good a player is, look at the caliber of schools who recuit him. Pierson's list looks better than most. We're usually battling ISU, KSU and Baylor. Not that some of those recruits won't pan out but the law of averages is against us. If we win more, we'll get better players.

Robert Brock 9 years, 2 months ago

We are usually battling Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, and Navy for prospects.

DevilHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

To be fair, many of the prospects offered by Tulsa are guys that would be picking up late offers from the larger schools.

Rather than waiting to see how the classes at other schools developed, they decided to accept KU's offer because KU was the first AQ-conference program to offer them.

We also seem to be doing well at picking up recruits that originally committed to a different program.

We are currently looking at one of the best (if not the best) recruiting classes that KU has ever had - and yet we would still be looking at a losing conference season if the game were played based solely on recruiting class rankings.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 2 months ago

To be even more fair, Tulsa is kicking the crap out of Hawaii tonight. I'd take that...maybe beating out Tulsa isn't such a bad thing.

Dan Harris 9 years, 1 month ago

Tulsa has won 3 bowl games in a row. I would take that in a heart beat

Jamaal25Chiefs 9 years, 1 month ago

Who care who we are battling for the recruit!!!! A 4 star recruit is a 4 star recruit. . . . . . Who did we battle for Meier? Briscoe? AND Reesing? . . . Nobody OUTSTANDING. . . . If we can land a 4 star . . i will take it even if we were battling D2 Schools. . . For gods sake. . . I am sick of watching the MAJORITY of Kansas fans COMPLAIN and WHINE and CRY. . . cuz we don't have this or that. . . we should fire Gill this or that. . . Its like none of you have failed too get any success on a first attempt? . . . Right? Right? It must be GREAT living PERFECT? . . . God it gets soooo old. . . . If you say fire Turner Gill. . . then at all means DO NOT be a fan when he brings success to this program okay? . . Thats all i ask. . . If your not a Gill fan your not a Kansas fan. . . . Crying fans are in missouri. . . if you are a crying fan go root for them then. . . .

David Robinett 9 years, 1 month ago

Anthony, there are a lot of St Louis kids that come to KU, and it's always been that way. One of my best friends at KU was from St Louis (Christian Brothers). I myself defected from Missouri to attend KU -- best move I ever made! You'll be happy here.

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